I will admit that I didn’t follow the life and times of Mother Teresa. What I know comes from news reports and things of that sort. That said, I think this article really illustrates a common misconception about being a Christian, and to be honest, it is one more thing we can lay at the feet of Christians themselves. The article expresses pure shock that Mother Teresa could do what she did while simultaneously feeling distant from God. I will grant that it covers the ‘dark night of the soul,’ so it isn’t completely remiss on the issue of Christians feeling that way. But the idea that is out there is that Christians ‘in good standing’ with God will just be peachy, all the time.
That idea is just nonsense. Every thoughtful Christian I know endures moments of ‘distance.’ For myself, I can think of just a handful of times where I have ever ‘felt’ God’s presence. But I don’t do the things I do for the bells and whistles. I’m not in it for the euphoria. I’m in it because I think its true, and I understand that as such, it is a battle, and in battles, people get hurt, and usually the stakes are quite high. Christians themselves have promoted this notion, making it particularly hard on Christians themselves who see their ‘drought’ as a sign that they’ve offended God somehow. It really is not the case that a person walking by faith will be blessed with good fortune where ever they go.
The thing that strikes me as truly funny about this article is they felt the need to mention the atheists, in particular, Hitchens. Of course, there are Christians who very vocally tout their thriving emotionally intimate relationship with God, but this is dismissed by the atheists as wishful thinking or an evolutionary defect (ala Dawkins), so whether Christians ‘feel’ it or they don’t, you’re not going to please the atheistic community.
The message for the rest of us is again to have a robust understanding of the Christian Scriptures. When we do that, we will see that in the New Testament, when people were undergoing hard times, and especially when they were persecuted, they thanked God for believing them to be worthy of the ordeal. By some modern Christian views, the mere fact that you went through an ordeal means you did something naughty. You really can’t have it both ways.